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If you are anything like me, getting gifts that someone will like is a matter of pride. I always try to find the perfect gift, but sometimes there is not a lot extra in the budget. How do you find a gift that is perfect for someone without spending a fortune? I have some great tips that I have gathered over the years.
The most important thing is to know what the giftee is passionate about. If your friend loves to cook, do crafts, work out, or rescue animals…all of these things can give you ideas. Do you know his/her favorite color, team, musical artist, or movie genre? What does spend a lot of her time doing? What frustrates her about her activities? What makes her smile?
Below are some examples of items I have given and/or received or seen given that I thought were very special.
Trees or Plants
I had a friend we lovingly called “Martha Jr.”. She was into everything Martha Stewart. Cooking, gardening, decorating, and entertaining were all right up her alley. While I was driving through the countryside one afternoon, I saw a potted lemon tree on a porch and immediately thought of my friend. She got married not too long after that. For her wedding gift, I gave her a Meyer lemon tree. She has repeatedly told me how much she loves that tree. A couple of years ago she called me and told me she was upset because her toddler had picked all the “baby” green lemons off and was playing with them. She didn’t get any lemons that year, but her toddler played with the babies for days.
Scrapbook or Photo Album (or Framed Photos)
- I have another friend who is very sentimental. She has framed photos all over her house and boxes of photos everywhere. For her wedding gift, I bought a plain white photo album/scrapbook that could expand and covered the outside with white ribbon and bridal fabric. I then inscribed the first page with their names and wedding date. For the first section, I collected photos from her mom and the groom’s mom of them as children and put pictures of them together during different years. I told her mom to get lots of photos of the couple planning the wedding and created a section for that. I included scraps of extra fabric from the bridesmaid dresses, a photo of the cake she had ordered, and a list of the music she had selected for the service and reception. I then started the next section with a copy of the invitation and “and they lived happily ever after…..”. There was more than half the album left to fill, and she could add pages as those pages filled up.
Herb Garden or Specialty Gourmet Item
- If you have a friend who loves to cook, a mini windowsill herb garden in small decorative pots would be a great idea. So would specialty cooking items that you know she would like. Sea salts from different parts of the world, specialty oils, vinegars, or honeys, or exotic herbs and spices would be a nice touch also.
Easy Prep Meals or Baked Goods
- For a new mom, freezer meals or meals in jars would certainly be welcome. These also make great gifts for those recuperating from an illness or surgery, and can be a comfort to families in bereavement. I have seen gifts of soup, cookie mix, and pasta meals in jars done beautifully with a pretty box and some ribbon.
Personalized Baby Items
- For my cousin’s baby shower, I knew she didn’t have a mobile yet, so I made her one. I ordered the mechanism from an online retailer (with no adornment), then bought a wire form. Using her nursery colors, I covered the wire form in pink tulle (like a tutu) and hung mini silk blossoms and acrylic crystals from it. However, I was a little concerned that once older, the baby might try to eat the crystals or flowers. I made sure she understood she should move the mobile once the baby could stand (or was getting close). I like to think it is special to her because I made it.
Mementos from a Venue
- Another great wedding gift for a destination wedding would be a memoir from the location. An inscribed bottle of water from my MIL is a very special gift we cherish. Coffee mugs, glasses, and other mementos are all very thoughtful. Photos from the wedding in an ornament or engraved “First …..” ornaments make beautiful gifts that will be cherished for years to come.
- In my mind, the very best gift you can give someone is an experience that will turn into memories. For example, when my husband turned 50, I bought a “4×4 experience” for him and my stepson in the mountains. They went to the mountains, spent a day in a luxury 4×4 vehicle learning the tricks from a pro, and stayed in the hotel we (at that time ) were going to get married. They talk about it all the time. You may not be able to afford a memorable experience, but you could provide a weekend house/child/pet sitting so that someone could create their own experience.
- I am a very artsy/crafty person, so handmade gifts are always special to me. Not just gifts made by the person giving the gift (which are always awesome), but also any other artist. I have a friend who used to give me miniature pottery for my birthday every year. I loved getting it and seeing what new and beautiful glazes were out there! I keep these on my kitchen windowsill. Craft fairs, Etsy, and local craft shows are great places to find these gifts.
- Tickets to a major concert can be pricey, but there are some wonderful concerts at local venues that are much more affordable. Also, tickets for sporting events, museum admittance, or performing arts are great ideas for friends who would love a night out.
Stress Relief Products for Teachers
- Teachers have one of the toughest jobs I know. They are dealing with little to full-size people who think they already know everything. Aromatherapy, bath sets, scented votives in nice holders, and aromatherapy jewelry would all make nice gifts for a stressed-out teacher.
Luxury Desk Items
- For those of us who spend a lot of time behind a desk, beautiful accessories can really perk up our workspace. Ornamented pens and pencils, adorned staplers and tape dispensers, and multi-patterned folders are a few of the items that would work. Also, if you have a friend who loves her planner/ journal, there are stickers, bookmarks, mini colored pencil sets, and cute paper clips that are a lot of fun. Don’t forget push pins, mouse pads, pencil holders, file boxes, and notepads. These could easily be hand decorated!
Luxury Small Ticket Items
- Any “luxury” version of a small item you might use every day. Most of us can’t afford luxury for everything, or even the big things. Luxury small items can be just as impressive. Mini perfumes, silk pillowcases, fancy writing pens, adorned hair accessories, and pocket mirrors or business card holders are all items for which luxury can be affordable.
- Whatever it is that you (the gifter) are known for. For example, if you love to bake, baked goods. If you are an artist, a custom piece of your artwork. If you love candles, a beeswax candle with essential oil fragrance. These gifts remind the person receiving the gift of you. I had a friend who was my “jewelry” friend. I actually called her that because she would always make me put on jewelry before we went out together. Jewelry was never my thing, but it was hers, and it became the gift I always knew I would receive from her. I knew she had impeccable taste, and she always got me things that I loved.
Framed or Unframed Printables
- I used to have a boss who loved a poster I had hanging in my office. It was the poem “Desiderata” and it had a rice paper background with a few dried flowers in the corners. This man was impossible to buy for (he had everything). One Christmas, I printed the poem in a nice font on a masculine decorative background, then matted and framed it. He seemed genuinely pleased, and it was still on his desk when I left that job. Quotes about love, family or children, memories or friends, and Bible verses would all be nice gifts.
In conclusion, you truly don’t have to spend a lot in order to give a memorable gift. Use your knowledge of the person and your creativity, and you will amaze yourself with great ideas!
Until next time,